Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Coalition of reform and democracy leader Raila Odinga and Kilifi County Governor Amason Jeffah Kingi speaking to court reporters outside Milimani law courts after high court stopped the decision by the Chief Licensing Officer requiring him to surrender his firearm on Tuesday March 15, 2016
BY SAM ALFAN
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has taken the government head-on, this time reigning over a decision to revoke his firearm license.
He got a temporary reprieve on Monday, March 15, 2016 with the High court suspending a decision by the Chief Licensing Officer requiring him to surrender his firearm.
Justice George Odunga directed that Joho’s firearms shall not be confiscated and he shall not be arrested and or charged over the same.
“The petitioner has established prima facie case, declining to give the orders may expose Joho to a state of insecurity assuming that he was dully licensed to carry the firearm for the purpose of his own safety,” said Odunga.
In a brief ruling, Judge Odunga stated that the power to cancel the license is within the licensing firearm board and the act by Interior CS Joseph Nkaiserry to make a decision before Joho’s appeal was determined was an illegality and a breach to the right for a fair hearing.
The court further stopped his arrest and recovery of his firearm by the police.
“That the grant of leave herein shall operate as a stay of the decision revoking the applicant firearms licence as well as confiscating his firearms and the consequential decision to charge him for failure to comply with the orders of the respondents pending further orders of this court”. Ordered Odunga.
Through his lawyer, James Orengo the governor told the court that he has been a holder of a licensed firearm certificate since 18 June 2008 and for the entire period of 8 years from the date of issuance of the certificate, he has never breached the conditions specified under the certificate and neither has he engaged in arbitrary misuse of his firearms.
The lawyer explained that the governor has never been notified of any intention to revoke his firearm certificate and neither has he been informed that he has suffered any disability to vitiate his ability to hold a firearm certificate.
Governors Joho close friend Dennis Musota was among top lawyers who appeared for the ODM Deputyparty Leader.
He said that he only came to learn of the revocation through the media, and out of caution, he proceeded to the Mombasa regional police commander to verify whether the directive was true whereupon the police regional commander denied knowledge of such a directive.
However, he received a letter on March 10, from the Chief Licensing officer informing him of the said revocation and directing him to surrender the firearm certificate forthwith to the Police Commander.
Lawyer Orengo said that on Friday, the Interior Cabinet Secretary Major Gen (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery through a press statement to the media ordered the Governor to immediately surrender his firearm certificate or face arrest despite knowing that Mr Joho had 14 days to comply as provided for in the Firearms certificate Act.
He also lodged an appeal to the minister for interior and coordination of National Government against the arbitrary revocation of his firearm certificate.
The Firearms certificate Act provides that once an appeal is lodged, the revocation notice is forthwith stayed until the appeal is vacated, abandoned or dismissed.
“Despite the clear provisions of said law, and despite the appeal having been lodged and receipt acknowledged by Mr Nkaissery, both the Inspector general of Police and the Minister have continued to issue malicious threats of arrest to the governor,” explained lawyer Orengo.
ODM Depuy leader was accompanied by Coalition of reform and democracy leader Raila Odinga, Senator Moses Wetangula, Kilifi County Governor Amason Jeffah Kingi among other Coast region members of parliament.
Justice Odunga allowed the applicant to amend the statement of facts filed and file any affidavits if necessary and directed the substantive motion to be filed and served within 3 days.
The application was certified urgent and the lawyer directed to serve the Attorney General and come back for inter parties hearing on April 8 ,2016.